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The Guardian - Jason Robinson


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Just now, Poower Lad said:

No ones stopping anyone in this day and age pal . I’m in two boards of directors , we just want the best candidate could give a shiny about there creed colour or sexuality . 

You are indeed a paragon PL, as you keep saying. However the game also need leaders acting as well as talking.

Sport, amongst other things, is a dream-world offering escape from harsh reality and the disturbing prospect of change.

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There is a great danger that we rely on our great history too much and become complacent/oblivious.   History isn't a get out of jail free card, that we can throw out when anything gets uncomfort

No it doesn't. It's not his job to come up with a plan. It's RL's job. 

A few months ago some of our most prominent black players such as Vinny Finigan, Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence and Jordan Turner spoke out in the media about their experiences of racism in Rugby Le

3 minutes ago, Blind side johnny said:

You are indeed a paragon PL, as you keep saying. However the game also need leaders acting as well as talking.

Agreed , I just think Jason should active Lynn use his profile to do something he’s still the most recognised RL player after Martin O . He should set up coaching clinics 

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Whilst I'm not sure when people say black whether they just mean black ethic grouping or mean the wider ethic grouping including Asian as in Pakistan or India.

We don't have very many Asian  players in soccer or rugby, that always seems odd to me.  I know cricket if I'm being stereotypical and wanting to find a reason/excuse may be of more interest, but given the high profile of soccer I am very surprised by lack of many Asian players.   Given RL has a higher profile in the North which has a relative high Asian population what do our sport do to try and improve this.

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Now  there are more black players playing at the highest level in soccer and  less in RL.  I think the two facts are connected. Of course in the days of Boston, Clive Sullivan, Colin Dixon, Johnnie Freeman, the number of black players playing pro soccer was non existent, whereas now they welcome talented black lads with open arms.  Any lad with any sort of football talent would be a fool to sign with a RL club rather than chance his arm in soccer.  Ryan Giggs - Danny Wilson's son is the prime example.

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“Few thought him even a starter.There were many who thought themselves smarter. But he ended PM, CH and OM. An Earl and a Knight of the Garter.”

Clement Attlee.

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1 hour ago, Blind side johnny said:

Ignorant, definitely; minority, hopefully; small, not as small as some would like us to believe.

I don't include you in this group RP but your generalisation about sports that such minorities might favour is actually symptomatic of the problem.

I am white and all my leading RL heros are black. One of them is Robinson. I would be appalled by myself if I abused a black player because he was black.  I would expect all people to treat everyone as they find them. And most people in Britain would.

Edited by John Drake
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1 hour ago, Poower Lad said:

What no one ever seems to say in these arguments , and I’m just pointing out is that not reflective of the percentage of black people in the UK . And also is there not onus on communities to involve themselves in activities , The sports there the teams are there get involved No ones stopping anyone in this day and age , why does a special case always need to be made 

I think the point is about being welcoming spaces for all people. It can be quite intimidating walking into an environment where nobody looks or sounds like you (which works in everyway and happens to white working class kids going to grammar school too for example).

Its not something RL can solve by itself but getting our leading British BAME, even just sounding different by being Southern or Welsh, players on a platform so that the game doesn't just present an image of "white and northern" could be a start. Lets look to our highly inclusive past and build on that with the current crop of players.

I genuinely don't think we have the institutional problems other organisations have with this issue, but we do have a bit of tone-deafness at times that lead to us appearing a bit slack.

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2 hours ago, Poower Lad said:

What no one ever seems to say in these arguments , and I’m just pointing out is that not reflective of the percentage of black people in the UK . And also is there not onus on communities to involve themselves in activities , The sports there the teams are there get involved No ones stopping anyone in this day and age , why does a special case always need to be made 

Exactly so, I have been an avid supporter of the amatuer rugby league for a very long time before even when the National League started in '86 which then became the National  Conference League, so instead of just being familiar with what was happening in my own neck of the woods in the North West I have watched and visitred lots of clubs in different areas, and I will catagorically state there as not been lots of black, asian or ethnic player's on view. 

The number's of participants playing Amateur Rugby League as been dwindling down the years and if players of all backgrounds are decreasing by equal percentage numbers whichvI have no reason to believe it to be any different we are going to see less of our ethnic friends on show.

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Compared to Yorkshire cricket, I don't think our issues are as bad. Can we do better? Yes, of course.

Are some of our "numbers" down to the end of union players switching? Obviously the likes of Boston, Francis and Sullivan from Wales, but Offiah is hardly from the "heartlands" either.

As has been said above, the numbers off the field is an interesting thing to look at. Why hasn't Leon Pryce had another coaching role?

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I'd say at Broncos we have the most ethnically diverse support. Thats based on my own experience 

I've never heard or seen anything that would be construed as racist at one of our games that might put BAME people off coming 

Our Academy has lots of mixed race and black kids too

I think London leads the way on this topic

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11 minutes ago, RigbyLuger said:

Are some of our "numbers" down to the end of union players switching? Obviously the likes of Boston, Francis and Sullivan from Wales, but Offiah is hardly from the "heartlands" either.

That really doesn't help, does it?

Looking into the background of the handful of black players from our past and noticing that a high proportion of them didn't have anything to do with the heartland communities - in fact, were only welcomed into those communities once they'd proved to be useful with a football but not before.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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6 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

I'd say at Broncos we have the most ethnically diverse support. Thats based on my own experience 

I've never heard or seen anything that would be construed as racist at one of our games that might put BAME people off coming 

Our Academy has lots of mixed race and black kids too

I think London leads the way on this topic

I think thats a great model. I'd say we have difficulties in say Leeds whereby from my own experience there is an element of self-selecting segregation, in terms of where people live, go to (high) school and activities engaged with. Thats a wider problem that RL can't solve exclusively but it certainly can be a part of the solution. 

I think its about appearing as open and welcoming as possible at all levels of the game from top to bottom. A negative experience, especially early on, can put people off for life.

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7 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

That really doesn't help, does it?

Looking into the background of the handful of black players from our past and noticing that a high proportion of them didn't have anything to do with the heartland communities - in fact, were only welcomed into those communities once they'd proved to be useful with a football but not before.

No, but its something to build on that has the legitimacy that history and the passing of time gives. It shouldn't be a crutch for us to rest on our laurels with regarding this issue, but the foundations of us going forwards and actively taking on this issue.

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5 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I think thats a great model. I'd say we have difficulties in say Leeds whereby from my own experience there is an element of self-selecting segregation, in terms of where people live, go to (high) school and activities engaged with. Thats a wider problem that RL can't solve exclusively but it certainly can be a part of the solution. 

I think its about appearing as open and welcoming as possible at all levels of the game from top to bottom. A negative experience, especially early on, can put people off for life.

Agreed and a positive one can hook people

... One of the best moments of this very short Champ season was the Featherstone game in Ealing. There was a group of local primary kids-about 60. Almost all Asian and they looked they really enjoyed the game. I assume it was a Broncos initiative 

Confusingly the school was called 'Featherstone Primary'.... It was written on the side of their bus. Not sure who they cheered for but hopefully they had a great time and will come again! 

https://www.featherstoneprimary.co.uk/

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There is a tendency to see our history has simply the past and not something we should rely on to push us forward. This is not a bad point. However, one of the things that attracted me to RL in the first place was both the the number of black players and other backgrounds etc and the ability to talk about anything on the terraces. Now that's hard to imagine in a world terrified of mixing politics with sport and bashing critical rivals when they get up to no good. Of course we can't rest on our past though we shouldn't be afraid of shouting the good bits out either. When factors that limit discussion are front, first and foremost things are more likely to be hidden and create anger and resentment. Trying to veer away from issues, a reluctance to fess up about what's wrong is how and why BLM becomes a necessity and avoiding it means it's more likely to happen again and again. As a sport and as members of society we have responsibilities for where we stand on all issues and it's very obvious when we do nothing, say nothing and believe in nothing as much as if we'd decided black people shouldn't be included in our game.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Poower Lad said:

Like I say Crack on Jason come up with a plan don’t just say “they should be doing more “ it starts with yourself 

No it doesn't. It's not his job to come up with a plan. It's RL's job. 

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

No, but its something to build on that has the legitimacy that history and the passing of time gives. It shouldn't be a crutch for us to rest on our laurels with regarding this issue, but the foundations of us going forwards and actively taking on this issue.

But the point is that those foundations didn’t really exist. There were next to zero ethnic minority players in the past and there are next to zero now. And many of those who did play the game came from outside our communities.

And *even if* those foundations were real there’s been such a long gap now between those legends of the game and what is needed now that it’s not remotely relevant to anyone you’re trying to engage now.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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I don’t agree with Jason’s reasoning, the game as a whole is declining that’s the reason for the lower number of U.K. born black players.

Compared with the eras that produced Hanley, Gill, Drummond, Robinson, Nickle, Powell, Gibson etc there is far less routes into the game.

The number of amateur clubs has shrunk so alarmingly that we are now in desperate times. Coupled with that shrink in numbers we have many amateur clubs who don’t run teams at every age group as they once did, some run just 1 team and others only 4 or 5, not many have 14, 15, 16 teams or more.

During the Hanley era schools rugby League was also much stronger with vibrant local and national competitions. 

There was also Representative teams for Towns & City’s across the country, those teams lead into County Representation and the on to the England Schoolboys at U16. These are GONE now!

The pathways into the pro level of the sport are also hugely diminished with hosts of lads not getting into Scholarship giving up the game in disappointment. The same thing happens at the end of Scholarship to those who are discarded and don’t get an Academy contract. Then it happens again at U18/U19 when they don’t attain a SL deal! The rose tinted view from the RFL & SL is that those lads will return to their amateur clubs but the majority don’t they walk from the game and as a sport we need to wake up to that fact, we can I’ll afford it!

Another shot in our own foot is the switch from Saturday to Sunday at U14 which forces a lot of lads to choose between Football and Rugby League. Many lads choose Football and they are largely lost to our game at that point.

So Jason quoting a finite number and blaming Rugby League for not being as inclusive as in the past is very simplistic and quite frankly wrong!

Throwing in stats from Premier League is a bit ridiculous!

Firstly there are 10 more PL teams and each has to play a much larger number of games making debuts more available. Then you have the midweek minor Cup games and the early rounds of the FA Cup when younger non 1st Team lads get a run in the senior team. 

Secondly, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton etc have huge black communities where Football is pretty much the only sport on the minds of their young lads. In Rugby League we have no such Club/Communities to match that with the exception of Leeds which is tiny by comparison.

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36 minutes ago, Celt said:

The article makes reference to the only black coach in the 'profesional' game, being at London Skolars. The problem does not lie with "the top few clubs" alone.

I made reference to 1 Championship club. I fail to see any problem with that at all. Good to hear your experience of these lower division clubs is so positive - are there large numbers of ethnic minority players, staff and fans milling about at these grounds?

In terms of coaches we seem to be happy to bring in Australian coaches, irrespective of colour. Lam is of course from PNG and assistant coach to Australia. So principally clubs are interested in results.

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15 minutes ago, OMEGA said:

Secondly, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton etc have huge black communities where Football is pretty much the only sport on the minds of their young lads. In Rugby League we have no such Club/Communities to match that with the exception of Leeds which is tiny by comparison.

Brilliant point. Went to school in the 90s in Wakefield and can count the number of black people there on one hand.

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5 minutes ago, OMEGA said:

I don’t agree with Jason’s reasoning, the game as a whole is declining that’s the reason for the lower number of U.K. born black players.

Compared with the eras that produced Hanley, Gill, Drummond, Robinson, Nickle, Powell, Gibson etc there is far less routes into the game.

The number of amateur clubs has shrunk so alarmingly that we are now in desperate times. Coupled with that shrink in numbers we have many amateur clubs who don’t run teams at every age group as they once did, some run just 1 team and others only 4 or 5, not many have 14, 15, 16 teams or more.

During the Hanley era schools rugby League was also much stronger with vibrant local and national competitions. 

There was also Representative teams for Towns & City’s across the country, those teams lead into County Representation and the on to the England Schoolboys at U16. These are GONE now!

The pathways into the pro level of the sport are also hugely diminished with hosts of lads not getting into Scholarship giving up the game in disappointment. The same thing happens at the end of Scholarship to those who are discarded and don’t get an Academy contract. Then it happens again at U18/U19 when they don’t attain a SL deal! The rose tinted view from the RFL & SL is that those lads will return to their amateur clubs but the majority don’t they walk from the game and as a sport we need to wake up to that fact, we can I’ll afford it!

Another shot in our own foot is the switch from Saturday to Sunday at U14 which forces a lot of lads to choose between Football and Rugby League. Many lads choose Football and they are largely lost to our game at that point.

So Jason quoting a finite number and blaming Rugby League for not being as inclusive as in the past is very simplistic and quite frankly wrong!

Throwing in stats from Premier League is a bit ridiculous!

Firstly there are 10 more PL teams and each has to play a much larger number of games making debuts more available. Then you have the midweek minor Cup games and the early rounds of the FA Cup when younger non 1st Team lads get a run in the senior team. 

Secondly, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton etc have huge black communities where Football is pretty much the only sport on the minds of their young lads. In Rugby League we have no such Club/Communities to match that with the exception of Leeds which is tiny by comparison.

100% correct. Likewise there are fewer community cricket clubs.

No one is going to create a rugby league club in Leyton, which has 36% white population, of which half is British.  Anyone with sporting ambition will play football. 

 

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3 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

No, but its something to build on that has the legitimacy that history and the passing of time gives. It shouldn't be a crutch for us to rest on our laurels with regarding this issue, but the foundations of us going forwards and actively taking on this issue.

What issue? Jason Robinson in my view is not looking at the bigger picture, numbers of ethnic people have always been very slim in RL in both the pro and amatuer game, we have less player's of every colour and creed starting out on the conveyor belt, there is the issue just get more people playing everthing else will follow, it is not just a problem with the ethnic player's in our sport, but it is the flavour of the month so every Jack and is dog is jumping on the bandwagon to find issues were there is nothing to find in the first place.

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

But the point is that those foundations didn’t really exist. There were next to zero ethnic minority players in the past and there are next to zero now. And many of those who did play the game came from outside our communities.

And *even if* those foundations were real there’s been such a long gap now between those legends of the game and what is needed now that it’s not remotely relevant to anyone you’re trying to engage now.

Thanks for completely missing my point. Its not about complaining about the whys and wherefores or nuances of those, its about using the big picture to link the game's past with its present to legitimise an actively inclusive stance going forwards. Arguing over the nuance does have a place but its far less important than building upon that going forwards. Thats not to say its not of value.

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